Director and featured actor of Clybourne Park to speak at SF Sept. 17

Ralf Remshardt, director of the current Hippodrome production of “Clybourne Park,” and featured actor, Sean Cancellieri, will give a presentation on the play on Wednesday, Sept. 17 in S-29/30 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Faculty interested in bringing their classes should contact Steve Robitaille at steve.robitaille@sfcollege.edu to assure seating. Staff and faculty are welcomed to attend. Please see the director’s notes below for background on the play, which will run through Sunday, Sept, 28.

Ralf Remshardt
Ralf is professor of theatre at the University of Florida where he coordinates the graduate program in acting. He previously taught theatre at Denison University in Ohio. A native of Germany, Remshardt received an M.A. from the Freie Universität Berlin and a Ph.D. in Dramatic Art from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Remshardt is an experienced director, translator, and dramaturg who has lectured and delivered papers at conferences in the USA, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, China, Russia, and Chile. His publications have appeared in many journals and in several edited collections. His book, Staging the Savage God: The Grotesque in Performance, was published in 2004. He co-produced a documentary film about Hispanic theatres, which premiered in New York in 2014. He has directed at university and professional theatres, including plays by Euripides, Shakespeare, Brecht, Beckett, Stoppard, Dürrenmatt, Falk Richter, and Bernard-Marie Koltès. In  the summer of 2009, he was invited to stage his adaptation of Einstein’s Dreams in Beijing (China).

Sean Cancellieri
Sean is a 3rd year MFA candidate at the University of Florida. His recent credits include:Hobson’s Choice (Will), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Eugene), The Altruists (Ronald), A Servant to Two Masters (Brighella), Fabulation (Addict/ Accountant/ Doctor), and The Madwomen of Chilliot (The Ragpicker).

Director’s Notes: Ralf Remshardt

When I first encountered Bruce Norris’s searing Clybourne Park three years ago, I was in London, shepherding a group of UF students through Europe on a theatre trip. We were all mesmerized by a drama that, in a manner both breathtakingly funny and ruthlessly profound, seemed to bring to the surface all of those aspects of America’s ongoing, ever-unfinished conversation about race and class we would rather politely avoid. (Indeed, the characters in Clybourne Park start off politely, with the best of intentions, but watch what happens…!)  Norris succeeds, in this utterly contemporary comedy of manners, to tickle our ribs while he’s poking us in the eye, and this hilarious ferocity has made it one of the most widely produced new plays in the U.S., picking up Pulitzer, Tony, and Olivier awards on the way. Not only is it a terrifically well-constructed play in its own right, but – as a theatre historian in my day job, I’m bound to point this out – Clybourne Park takes its cue from a classic American drama of racial and social struggle, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (1959), to which it is both an homage and a counterpoint. Norris riffs on Hansberry’s story by imagining, very plausibly, what might be happening in the house the Younger family is looking to buy in a white neighborhood in the segregated Chicago of the 1950s, and what might have become of that same house fifty years later, in the “post-racial” era of President Obama.Being a “Hipp” town, Gainesville is always ready for some rib-tickling and eye-poking, so of course the Hippodrome chose Clybourne Park to open a season of fresh and bracing work. But it’s also the first of what we hope to be a long series of co-productions with the University of Florida’s School of Theatre and Dance. Local audiences have long enjoyed the fine performance work of UF graduates in many venues, so a formal collaboration between Gainesville’s only professional theatre and its only professional theatre training program seemed an obvious step, long in the making. When I was offered the opportunity to direct this play that I had admired for some years, I happily jumped at it – and I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed giving it life. —Ralf Remshardt​